One of the most important tasks that unmarried couples must do when they have a baby is to establish paternity. Paternity establishment holds numerous advantages for both parents and the child.
Establishing Paternity in Florida
There are many ways to establish paternity in the state of Florida. For an easier and affordable experience, you should contact a paternity lawyer to assist you with the overall process.
How is paternity established?
Paternity can be established by declaring the father on the child’s birth certificate (if he is present during the birth of the child). Most states allow fathers to sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity.
If unwed parents do not place a paternal name on the birth certificate, they have the option of preparing a paternal statement. This form can be found on most states’ court websites.
Otherwise, unmarried couples may prepare an informal document that includes basic information about both parents and the child’s birth. This informal document should be signed in the presence of a notary and filed with the nearest family court.
Petition to Establish Paternity
If the mother is unwilling to indicate the father, a man who believes that he is the father may petition with the courts. To do this, he would need to locate the state that has jurisdiction in the case. It is usually the child’s birthplace/state and/or the mother’s state of residence that has jurisdiction. Once the petition is filed, the mother will receive a court order requiring a response. If she continues to deny the father, DNA testing and other means may be taken in order to prove paternity. In most cases, it is advisable to file a petition with the court as soon as the baby is born, as a way to prevent any drastic measures taken by the mother, such as placing the child up for adoption.
Benefits of Establishing Paternity
There are numerous benefits associated with paternity establishment. Here is why establish paternity in Florida is so important:
- It enables the father’s name to be placed on the birth certificate.
- The child will have access to medical records and documented history of both sides of his/her family.
- A healthy father-child relationship is likely to develop. Studies show that when paternity action is undertaken, thereby legalizing the father on paper, there is a greater overall likelihood that the father (and his immediate and extended family) will become active participants in the child’s life.
- The father’s information will be released to the Putative Father Biology Database, which allows him to have accessibility to adoption records. A putative lawyer can assist in ensuring that the biological father plays an active role in the adoption process if the unmarried couple chooses to place the child up for adoption.
- If legitimized, the father will be able to share equal custody and visitation rights with the mother.
- The child will be eligible to qualify for financial benefits from the father such as child support and social security programs.
- Scientific reports indicate that the presence and active support of a legalized father leads to greater mental and emotional well-being of the child.
Clearly, determining paternity signifies much more than paper documents. For more information on how to establish paternity, you should contact an experienced paternity attorney.
Establishing paternity is extremely important for the child and the parents involved. But it is even more important that the father who is legalized and noted on official documents is indeed the biological father.
Paternity fraud refers to the act of a mother knowingly providing hospitals with wrongful information about her child’s real father on documents. It is a scandalous activity that often results in much turmoil and chaos in families. It may also prevent the child from developing a healthy relationship with his father and/or subject another man to unnecessary caretaking and unlawful financial responsibilities.
Here’s how to prove paternity:
- Genetic Testing: DNA Testing labs can provide fathers with accurate genetic reports to prove (or disprove) paternity. In some case, the state may afford the costs of such genetic testing.
- Voluntary Acknowledgement: if the father is present during the birth of the child, he may wish to make a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity.
Contact a Paternity Lawyer in Miami, FL
At the Law Offices of Theodore Enfield, P.A., our experienced paternity attorneys have over 35 years of family law litigation and advocacy experience within the state of Florida. If done improperly, establishing paternity can become a lengthy and tedious process. Further, your family (especially the child) may experience significant financial and emotional burdens. No matter what issues your family may be going through, our trustworthy paternity lawyers are prepared to assist you with establishing paternity over your child.
Contact us today for a free consultation.